“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”
I spent the first quarter of my life living from the “outside in.” In other words, I was searching for things outside myself—such as success, wealth, validation, and possessions— to make me feel whole and complete. I grew up in an alcoholic household, feeling disconnected from others, feeling alone and uncertain, and unaware that I was already complete.
By age 21 I had attained all the success society tells us we need to “have made it.” But for seven years, I also suffered from the eating disorder bulimia. In 1984, I woke up and said, “I can’t live this way anymore,” so I checked myself into treatment. During my six-week stay, I learned that to feel complete, I simply needed to start living my life from the “inside out.” Through therapy, meditation, yoga, reading for inspiration, and other mindfulness practices, I discovered that by living life first from within myself—learning to accept and love myself—I could then go out into the world to make it complete, rather than the other way around.
Albert Einstein once wrote, “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Don’t you just love this? Albert Einstein’s wisdom here teaches that each of us, individually and collectively, completes the universe. Forgetting that we are already whole leads us to think we must take from the universe, that what is outside of us is what we need. However, it truly is just the opposite: We must give to the world from the whole of our being so that we can all achieve the success of life well lived, as an integral part of humanity and what lies beyond.
How do we begin living from the inside out? The first step is “wake up and sit”; go within through a daily practice of meditation and get in touch with the part of ourselves that knows on a very deep level that we are connected to one another and that we are strong, courageous, secure, and loving.
This is our true source of happiness, that feeling of completeness we yearn for, which we can share with the world through our words, actions, and deeds. We are complete. We are enough. There is nothing we need to take from the universe. It gives to us freely when we realize that the source of everything we need is already within.
I set the intention on a daily basis to live my life from the inside out. I sit with myself every morning and connect with me before I go connect with others. This is our preparation for whatever may come our way during the day. We cannot control anything in the external world, but we can control how we will respond and which choices we will make to thrive! What can I suggest to you for living your best life in mind, body, and spirit? Find your practice and practice it—with your whole being!